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29 March 2013 Ultrasound strain imaging for quantification of tissue function: cardiovascular applications
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With ultrasound imaging, the motion and deformation of tissue can be measured. Tissue can be deformed by applying a force on it and the resulting deformation is a function of its mechanical properties. Quantification of this resulting tissue deformation to assess the mechanical properties of tissue is called elastography. If the tissue under interrogation is actively deforming, the deformation is directly related to its function and quantification of this deformation is normally referred as ‘strain imaging’. Elastography can be used for atherosclerotic plaques characterization, while the contractility of the heart or skeletal muscles can be assessed with strain imaging. We developed radio frequency (RF) based ultrasound methods to assess the deformation at higher resolution and with higher accuracy than commercial methods using conventional image data (Tissue Doppler Imaging and 2D speckle tracking methods). However, the improvement in accuracy is mainly achieved when measuring strain along the ultrasound beam direction, so 1D. We further extended this method to multiple directions and further improved precision by using compounding of data acquired at multiple beam steered angles. In arteries, the presence of vulnerable plaques may lead to acute events like stroke and myocardial infarction. Consequently, timely detection of these plaques is of great diagnostic value. Non-invasive ultrasound strain compounding is currently being evaluated as a diagnostic tool to identify the vulnerability of plaques. In the heart, we determined the strain locally and at high resolution resulting in a local assessment in contrary to conventional global functional parameters like cardiac output or shortening fraction.
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Chris L. de Korte, Richard G. P. Lopata, and Hendrik H. G. Hansen "Ultrasound strain imaging for quantification of tissue function: cardiovascular applications", Proc. SPIE 8675, Medical Imaging 2013: Ultrasonic Imaging, Tomography, and Therapy, 867502 (29 March 2013);

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